Iranian female football fan dies after setting herself on fire

She was known as the “Blue Girl” on social media for the colors of her favorite Iranian soccer team, Esteghlal. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 September 2019

Iranian female football fan dies after setting herself on fire

  • The woman set herself on fire after she learned that she faced jail for attending a football match
  • She then spent three nights in jail before being released pending the court case

TEHRAN, Iran: An Iranian female football fan has died after setting herself on fire outside a court after learning she may have to serve a six-month sentence for trying to enter a football stadium, a semi-official news agency reported Tuesday.
The death immediately drew an outcry among some football stars and known figures in Iran, where women are banned from football stadiums, though they are allowed at some other sports, such as volleyball.
The 30-year old woman, identified only as Sahar, died at a Tehran hospital on Monday, according to the Shafaghna news agency. She was known as the “Blue Girl” on social media for the colors of her favorite Iranian football team, Esteghlal.
She set herself on fire last week, reportedly after learning she may have to go to prison for trying to enter a stadium in March to watch an Esteghlal match. She was pretending to be a man and wore a blue hairpiece and a long overcoat when the police stopped her.
She then spent three nights in jail before being released pending the court case.
No verdict had been delivered in her case so far. There were reports that Sahar, who had graduated in computer sciences, had attempted to take her life once before, while in university.
Former Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi — who played 127 matches for Iran and has been a vocal advocate of ending the ban on women — urged Iranians in a tweet to boycott football stadiums to protest Sahar’s death.
Iranian-Armenian football player Andranik “Ando” Teymourian, the first Christian to be the captain of Iran’s national squad and also an Esteghlal player, said in a tweet that one of Tehran’s major football stadiums will be named after Sahar, “once, in the future.”
Female lawmaker Parvaneh Salahshouri called Sahar “Iran’s Girl” and tweeted: “We are all responsible.”


Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

Updated 19 min 22 sec ago

Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

  • Joint operations planned to prevent attacks ahead of polls

KABUL: Afghan forces backed by US forces killed two senior Taliban leaders and at least 38 fighters of the hard-line insurgent group in joint airstrikes conducted in northern and western regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the US and the Taliban.

The Defense Ministry in a statement said that the Taliban’s designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an airstrike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.

But the Taliban denied the governor had been killed.

“He (Nooruddin) is alive,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.

HIGHLOW

  • Taliban deny the governor of Samangan province had been killed.
  • Last week, insurgents killed four Afghan special force members in a car bomb blast.
  • Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day.

In a separate incident, Mullah Sayed Azim, a Taliban designate governor for Anar Dara district in western Farah was killed in a joint Afghan and foreign force raid.

“Sayed Azim was killed along with 34 other insurgents in Anar Dara,” said Mohibullah Mohib, a spokesman for Farah provincial police.

Senior security officials in Kabul said several joint operations will be launched against Taliban and Daesh fighters to prevent attacks on Afghan forces and civilians ahead of the presidential polls on Sept. 28.

Fighting picked up in several parts of Afghanistan last week after US President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancelation of talks with the Taliban aimed at withdrawing US troops and opening the way to end to 18 year-long war in Afghanistan. 

 

Troops for polling day

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day. Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Sunday that 72,000 security personnel will be on duty around the 4,942 polling centers across Afghanistan while nearly 30,000 additional troops will serve as reserve units.

Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said security forces have recently taken back eight districts from the Taliban and that operations are underway to secure around 20 others.